Head of the Rustavi 2 TV, Nika Gvaramia, was questioned on Thursday by prosecutors as part of an investigation into allegations voiced by Gvaramia a day earlier that he received a threat from the government to leak a video of his personal life if he refuses to “step aside” from the television station, which is in a court dispute over its ownership.
Gvaramia claimed that the message was conveyed to him through an intermediary, who is on good terms both with him and the government; he declined to name the person, but said that he was going to reveal the identity of the middleman to investigators.
The prosecutor’s office said in a statement after questioning Gvaramia that the latter named Alexi Akhvlediani as the middleman.
Alexi Akhvlediani is the president of the Georgian Athletics Federation since early 2011; he was head of the organizing committee of the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) 2015, which was held in Tbilisi this summer.
He was also summoned by the prosecutor’s office for questioning.
Speaking with journalists outside the prosecutor’s office just before his questioning, Akhvlediani confirmed that he met Gvaramia in the Rustavi 2 TV headquarters on October 21, but declined to elaborate details. He, however, said: “I am neither a messenger nor middleman.”
The prosecutor’s office said that it offered Gvaramia “special protection measures” for him and his family, but the latter declined.
“It’s like a wolf offering protection to sheep,” Gvaramia said, adding that he plans to send his family to the United States.
The investigation into Gvaramia’s blackmail allegations are ongoing under the first part of article 150 of criminal code, which deals with cases of “physical or psychological coercion.”